Why are the poor, poor?

Empty Drums wait for Water.

I live in a cooperative housing society in Mira Road, a suburb just outside the municipal limits of Mumbai.

We get municipal water supply to our building. The cost of water per year is around 300,000. We are a society of 65 residents. It costs me around 400 rupees per month to get clean water in my house. The same water supply is used for drinking and all other purposes. We don’t have a bore well for supply of water for flushing purposes. My per day cost of water works out to just about 14 Rupees per day. We consume on an average 1000 liters in our family of 8 people. Thus you can say that I get water at around 1.4 paise per liter.

Now there is a slum pocket very near to my home. The people who live in this slum pocket don’t have access to clean drinking water. They buy water from a water tanker. The source of water of the water tanker is either a bore well or some stream somewhere. They pay 200 Rupees per drum of water. The drum capacity is around 200 Liters. Thus they are paying a rupee per liter.

Same is the case with electricity. They don’t have clear land title to their shanties, thus they ‘buy’ electricity from some ‘slum-lord’ who is stealing the electricity from somewhere. They pay a fixed price for the power supply. They are restricted to what they can use, a fan, a couple of lights is all that they are allowed.

They have a variable income, therefore they buy food depending on the day’s income. They buy vegetable oil worth Rs 5 or Rs 10/-, such small packets are sold at a premium by the local grocery store and these people can’t even bargain, they take whatever is given.

These poor people dare not enter a discount store like D-Mart to buy their stuff thus they end up paying way more than others like us.

All these small things add to their poverty.

As all these poor live in illegal slum pockets, they don’t have any document to prove their right or title to the house that they use. This absence of title prevents them from raising any money to start a small business, they have been bypassed by our banking system and are thus at the mercy of those who employ them and who invariably end up exploiting them one way or another.

This cycle needs to be broken. And it can be done easily if the government agrees to give them title to the plot of land on which their houses stand. It will be said that such award of title will promote illegal occupation but then Slum Rehabilitation’s are doing exactly the same, so why deny them till they agree to vacate the land for some rich builder to build on the land anyway occupied by them?

The Orbit of Corruption

Corruption, it can be said without doubt, is a scrounge for mankind. Corruption affects all of us. When any facility for the masses is created and it involves financial corruption then invariably the quality suffers. This is because to win the contract in the first place, the vendor has to be L1 (lowest bidder for the work specified).

If you peel the onion of corruption, you will find that it eventually leads to the process of elections to bodies that decide on common infrastructure development.

But you will also notice that some leaders remain in the orbit of decision making bodies even though they have lost elections and have become virtual nobodies. How does this happen?

This is where the orbit of corruption comes into play. Once you have entered the orbit, once you have corrupted someone and that someone has corrupted someone else, it becomes impossible to remove any of the players from the orbit. They are they people who are in the know.

Recently Sharad Pawar gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi on the Rafale Deal. Sharad Pawar, although a big gun in politics and a member of the orbit, did not realize the recoil effect of his statement. Sharad Pawar is by no stretch of imagination a clean politician. He is rumored to own huge properties all over Maharashtra and is a veteran in cooperatives which dote the landscape. Sharad Pawar may have had his own compulsions to give a clean chit to Modi on the Rafale deal but ever since he gave that interview to a Marathi News Channel, he has been going around doing damage control trying to backtrack on his statement.

Due to rapidly changing political scenario, there was a possibility, however remote, that Sharad Pawar could be a candidate of the combined opposition for the PM’s post should the Congress led combine win the 2019 elections. But now he seems to have shot himself in the foot by speaking up for Modi. There can be no denying the fact that Rafale is a botched up deal and massive corruption has taken place in the deal. Thus for Pawar to come up and say maybe Modi is not personally involved in the deal gave a handle to BJP to mount a counter attack on the combined opposition that had managed to isolate BJP on the deal.

Maybe Pawar was under threat or some favor was called in asking him to give support to a beleaguered Modi.

It is for people to recognize the people who have entered this orbit of corruption and fight them tooth and nail. Some bogus anti-corruption crusaders like Anna Hazare, etc. have queered the pitch for genuine activists that take on the mighty, but the task is clearly cut out and the fight must go on. We have to look for people with high degree of integrity spanning their whole life and then to support them in this unequal fight, for corruption has deep pockets and the ‘system’, a well oiled machine, will do its best to fight back. Disinformation will be used to discredit those fighting the system, we need to learn to separate wheat from the chaff and go for root cause understanding of the malice. Businessmen and corporations are equally to blame for corrupting the system and they need to be named and shamed instead of being feted and awarded….

 

If you think Congress is going to be any better please remember;

1. GST was a Congress bill.
2. FDI was a Congress initiative.
3. Digital India (Aadhar) was a Congress Initiative.
4. Jan Dhan Yogna was Congress initiative.
5. Toll Roads were a Congress gift to India.
6. Bank Loans that have turned NPA happened during UPA2.
7. Farmer Insurance Plans were started by Congress.
8. Service Tax was increased from 4% to 12.36% under Congress.
9. Swacch Bharat was Nirmal Bharat under Congress.
10. National Pension scheme was a Congress initiative.

and many more.

So, if you bring back Congress, don’t expect much to change. GST will continue, so will FDI, Aadhar Card was a Congress initiative under Digital India, Bank accounts were opened for the poor under Congress, Modi just accelerated the process to mop up small amounts lying with poor Indians such that they could refinance the tottering banking system and give more money to the rich. Toll roads under PPP will continue and so will other government responsibilities like Hospital Services will be shifted to the PPP model.

Bank loans recovery remains doubtful and the rich have used legal loopholes to protect themselves from certain jail.

Farmer insurance has only benefited the insurance companies.

Service tax is now GST and increased to 18% so don’t expect any roll back.

And NPS loot will continue as government mandates 40% of NPS corpus to be invested in risky stock markets, allowing people to siphon off the money. That is what happened in US in 2008 when people suddenly found that their 401(K) pension benefits had disappeared because of stock market crash.

So to think that Congress will be able to change the course of the nation is a false belief unless they put out in writing a plan of reversal.

Which they will not because they are just waiting for BJP to collapse under its own contradictions and people voting them not as a change but as the only other alternative.

Voting for them as the only other alternative would be like swinging on a pendulum from one extreme to another.

Aur phir se hamara ghanta hi bajega.

How to stop people from asking what BJP did in the time between 2014 and now?

1. Start postponing everything to 2022.
2. Start saying there is no alternative to Modi.
3. Start saying that BJP will target to win 350 seats in 2019.
4. Start showing surveys BJP getting 349 seats.
5. Keep lynchings going on.
6. Keep focus on Triple Talaq.
7. Keep Gau Rakhsha on top priority.
8. Keep talking about Mandir.
9. Keep talking about Hindu Khatre Mein Hai.
10. Keep talking abour rapid Muslim population growth.
11. Keep people busy with useless reforms.
12. Keep telling people nothing happened in 60 years.
13. Keep telling people that everything will happen by 2022.
14. Keep running an IT-Cell that spreads these messages.
15. Keep taking money from company’s to win the next election.
16. Keep trying to start religious riots in non-BJP states.
17. Keep shifting all goalposts.
18. Keep fomenting trouble and emerge as saviors.
19. Keep the media under the thumb.
20. Keep paying media for writing what you want.
21. Keep sending government agencies after any dissenter.
22. Keep squeezing balls of corrupt outside BJP.
23. Keep giving protection to corrupt inside BJP.
24. Keep talking about corruption but not appoint Lokpal.
25. Keep Saying Bharat Mata ki Jai, Vande Mataram, Jai Shri Ram.

Senior Citizen Scam by Indian Railways!

 

Under the Modi government, Indian Railways is trying to trick Senior Citizens into buying rail tickets at the full rate, instead of the concessional rate for Senior Citizens. The trick works as follows:

 

While booking train tickets online through IRCTC, a screen appears with an option for the Senior Citizens to give up the concession so far availed. The screen comes with two options:

“OK to give up the concession”; and,
“Cancel to proceed booking with concession”.

Usually, people are in the habit of pressing OK. So, Senior Citizens could easily get tricked into paying the full rate.

If a Senior Citizen wants to buy the ticket at concessional rate, then, the option to choose is “Cancel to proceed booking with concession”.

IAD a progress report.

IAD started off as a group by me called as Demon-2016 on 29th November 2016. In fact you can still see that name in the group name URL of Facebook.

The group quickly grew to around 35,000 members by December end and we had our first physical meeting among the members on 8th Jan 2017 at Dadar and simultaneously some members met in Delhi and Hyderabad.

Some RSS members tried to infiltrate the group and destroy it by trying to take over the group in the meantime.

A call was sent out to form a National Executive of group and self-nominations were invited in the background.

Around 105 people responded to that call and a NE of 105 people was constituted. Then there was a call for bio-data of the NE members. Only 65 people sent their bio-data. The NE shrank to 65 members. After this the NE has met thrice since then and to cut a long story short is now at 29 active members.

The name of the group was changed to India Against Demonetization in the meanwhile.

We had a protest on Marine Drive on 29th January 2017. Around 35 people assembled for the only on-the-ground protest against demonetization held anywhere in the country!

The group had three NE meetings on 25th Feb 2017, 19th March 2017 and 6th May 2017.

In these meetings important decisions were taken and an off-line organization created in the name of ‘Indians for Actualization of Democracy’ and accordingly the name of the group was changed from India Against Demonetization to Indians for Actualization of Democracy.

But there were difficulties in registering the name as Government does not allow any entity with the word Indians in it. Thus it was decided to change the name to Individuals for Actualization of Democracy.

A Memorandum of Association was drafted and adopted by the National Executive in 6th May 2017.

In the 3rd NE meeting it was decided, bowing to popular sentiment, that we also form a Political Party, that will allow those members who want to take active part in the politics of the country could switch over. Azad Bharat Party (proposed) was formed.

In the meanwhile a website for the group was started in the name and style of actualdemocracy.in.

A bank account was opened to receive paid membership for Individuals For Actualization of Democracy via the website.

Thus it was decided that IAD will be a two tier organization with IAD remaining as the ideological mooring for the political wing ABP.

IAD would decide on people centric agenda and give it to ABP for execution.

IAD remains a small group, although at 91,000 it looks like a large number on social media but as compared to the population of the country and it is a minuscule group.

But we have very active members. We have average engagement of 65000+ members on a daily basis as per the statistics available via Facebook!

Which brings me to now.

In going back over the timeline, we have achieved a lot in the short span of 8 odd months since we started, but we have miles to go.

We are now having a much clearer understanding and alignment within the group on the way forward and have gone from ‘Problem Definition’ Stage to ‘Providing Solutions’ Stage.

We have announced an agenda for ABP on its website abp.org.in and are now gearing towards creating road map for rolling out the agenda. This road map will be based on hard facts and figures and we will demonstrate to fellow citizens how we can achieve all that we are promising or all that is on our agenda. We will thus ask others to Lead, Follow or Get Out of Our Way!

Bottom line is that;

We realize that the current political system is highly corrupt and that almost all party’s are corrupt and therefore they don’t have any incentive to kill corruption. And that this corruption is taking away money that can be otherwise used for development.

We realize that if we keep looking up to political parties to provide an alternative, they are most likely to fail us either before or after the polls based on the fact that almost all of them are corrupt.

We realize that we may not be able to make much of a difference in the political landscape in the country in 2019 but even if one item on our people-centered agenda gets taken up by any political party because of the pressure and reports that we generate, it would be a big win for us.

We realize that good people should take the bull by the horn, people who have no political past and therefore can’t be black mailed into submission are the need of the hour.

We realize that there is grave and present danger to the idea of India as the secular fabric of the country is under attack, as the constitution of the country is under attack, as the basic directive principles of the constitution on which our country stands as a republic are under attack and individual rights are under attack. And therefore it is the duty of every citizen to stand up to this attack and be counted.

We realize that change will be slow and painful and that the well entrenched corrupt system will fight till its last breath against any one who tries to disturb their apple cart.

Yet, we have decided to march ahead.

And we will be nothing without mass participation of the citizens of India who believe in our cause and our way forward.

I on behalf of the National Executive appeal to you to add your friends and relatives to this group and also if they are and indeed if you are interested to become part of the ABP (Azad Bharat Party).

Together we will rise!

National Ambulance Project

(picture used for representational purposes only)

According to the 2011 census of India, 68.84% of Indians (around 833.1 million people) live in 640,867 different villages. The size of these villages varies considerably. 236,004 Indian villages have a population of fewer than 500, while 3,976 villages have a population of 10,000+.

Thus putting one ambulance in every village will give a boost to the automobile industry by pumping in 640,867 ambulances into the system.

If each ambulance costs 12 to 15 Lakhs, the automobile industry will get a boost of 77,000 Crores to 96,000 Crores at the lower end and upper end of the price.

It will also generate jobs directly for 4 people per ambulance, one driver, one assistant and two paramedics.

Thus the simple act of giving one ambulance per village will generate employment for 25,63,468 people.

The payment for the ambulance staff can be shared between the panchayat, the state government and the central government.

The funding for the project can be shared between the center and state government.

And the beauty of the whole project is that the money will remain within the country as vehicles will be manufactured in India and people will be paid in India.

What is my grouse with Modi?

First is that he represents everything that is wrong with creating a Hindu Rashtra. Being brought up in the defense background, I have always had friends of all walks of life and we have never ever thought on caste, creed, religion, color of skin lines. We saw our parents only as soldiers that were ready to put their lives on line for protecting the nation from any outside assault.

Thus this whole program of hating anyone other than Hindus does not gel with me. I will protect the secular nature of our constitution till my last breath. Because I see no other option for our much diversified country. We are Indians first.

Second is his ascent to power based on a bagful of lies. He has lied through his teeth about everything since the beginning of his political career. He lied about the Gujarat Model while taking bribes from all and sundry (but in this he is not alone, almost all politicians across party lines take bribes to run the system and almost all politicians lie too).

Third is total disdain for the democratic process. He may speak about the need to decentralize but as can be seen, everything other than decentralization has happened ever since he has come to power. In fact all ministers are just puppets in the cabinet and nobody dare open their mouths in front of him for he has a file on everyone (and others who he has not jailed as yet, like Congress leaders, have a file on him, therefore it is a Mexican Standoff between the two).

Fourth is that He is in-your-face with total contempt. He made Amit Shah, an accused in Fake Encounters as BJP Party President, he appointed retired bureaucrats to positions of power within PMO and has brought most of his trusted officers from Gujarat to hold top positions in the Government. He has no consideration for what the people will say. He gets only worried when the foreign press talks bad about him, like when they started writing about Lynching due to Cow Protection mafia, he stepped back and called the states to action. He has centralized all power in his own hands and the collective decision making of the cabinet has been thrown to the wind.

Fifth is that he is running a corrupt government that uses money from crony capitalists. These capitalists are his front companies/ his partnerships or maybe he is getting huge amount of money from them to run his government. Here too he is in your face and carries his relationship with the crony capitalists quite openly almost challenging the public to go screw themselves.

Sixth is the inability or capability of doing anything good for the people of India. He is completely driven by using the electoral power to work for his cronies and has the confidence that he can or will be able to buy out the poor voters at the time of election or create enough dissension between other parties to emerge as the single largest party.

These are all dangerous portents. These are the things that we need to fight. These are the things that we need to educate our people at the grass root level. These are the things that people should realize before it is 2019. Or may be earlier as he may try to ride a successful decision to electoral victory.

For unless the last Indian is economically free, our country will never be free.

BJP Back to Time Tested Formula for Gujarat 2017 Elections.

It seems the BJP is once again banking on Muslim hatred to get it to win Gujarat elections.

But Gujarat is 93% Hindu. Of the brave type.

Then do they have reason to fear the balance 7% of the poor types? Which include the Khoja/Bohra/Memon community which are anyways not a threat to the majority?

Also there is a 20% Koli Community in Gujarat that comes under OBC’s, what about them? They are not Hindus strictly speaking.

Then there are Dalits.

But when it comes to elections everyone except the Muslims become Hindus and later only the upper caste remains as a Hindu.

Good use of caste and religion politics to win an election.

In a country that is created as a secular nation.

If BJP has done great development in Gujarat then why not contest the elections on the plank of development? Why not showcase the famous Gujarat Model? Why fall back on religion?

This shows the real ‘Chaal Charitra and Chehra’ of the BJP.

Education changes job profiles….

Italian cheese is considered to be great. But some time back the Italians were hit by a labor crisis. The kids of master craftsmen who made cheese went abroad and acquired higher education that made them give up the cheese making industry.

This created an opportunity for migrants to be employed by these master craftsmen. Some of these migrants were from the state of Punjab. These migrants went to Italy and became master craftsmen themselves in the method of making cheese.

Later on these migrants, who became the trusted friends of the Italians, took their families to Italy.

Over time, the children of these Sikh Migrants too went abroad to acquire higher educational qualifications thus they too gave up on the cheese making factories.

Similarly, the children of the Gujarati and Marwadi small shop keepers are acquiring higher education and are giving up on the Mom-And-Pop stores that their parents were running. They too are looking for jobs in better sectors. Jobs that provide for a better salary, lifestyle commensurate with their qualifications.

Over time, the small mom-and-pop stores will disappear as increasingly more people get ‘educated’. It is the current under-educated crop of people that are running these stores. Maybe these educated children will start working in a store run by a chain of stores but they will no longer want to run their own stores.

Who would want to run their own business where the government thinks that you are a thief anyway?

I think we are heading towards a society where more people will be wage slaves and where opportunities are likely to shrink.

Education and Automation are going to be the big game changers in the jobs scenario.

Therefore it becomes important for children to acquire a real world skill, like ability to cook, ability to cut hair, ability to make and mend shoes, ability to sing and dance, etc. These abilities will come handy for survival as things pan out.

But in the long run I may be dead wrong. And in the long run I am going to be dead anyway…..